You know what they say about an apple a day – it’ll keep the doctor away. The apple can help, but we should substitute “walk” for “apple” to really see significant results. When the adage about the apple was coined, walking was just what everyone did. With the more recent introduction of all kinds of convenient transportation, we have lost that wonderful need to move under our own power and our health is declining. The benefits of that 30 minutes of regular daily exercise are numerous, including losing weight and lowering stress to reducing blood pressure and generally making you less susceptible to chronic diseases.
A walk every day is one of the least demanding and most productive measures you can take to improve your health. Increasingly, doctors are telling their patients to start walking. It is a routine that requires no equipment beyond a good pair of shoes and a little self-discipline, and the physical and mental rewards are impressive. The experts tell us that it’s important to find the best walking shoes for men before setting out on a regular walking schedule.
Mood Changes – An Unexpected Benefit
One of the first things you may notice as you begin a walking regimen is that it’s even better at lightening your mood than the usual after-work cocktail(s) or guilty secret consumption of your favorite Swiss chocolate. The efforts involved in walking make identifiable changes in your mind and body, resulting in a diminishing of negative feelings.
Turning your walks into an activity to share with a friend or two provides the social interaction that helps you to feel part of what’s going on around you. By giving yourself uninterrupted time to connect with others, your natural social instincts come into play and are encouraged. And it goes without saying that being outdoors give you the added benefits that exposure to Mother Nature’s light provides. Winter’s dark days cause many people to suffer from SAD or Seasonal Affective Disorder, a depressive condition that is much less likely to occur when one is absorbing daylight, the primary antidote.
You’ll also find your mind taking a deep breath and saying,”Ah!” as the wheels begin to turn and ideas and energies get fired up. An active body leads to an active brain and studies have shown that people on the move are more successful in thinking creatively than sedentary folks. This is just one more unexpected gift from regular walking.
Gradual Reshaping of Your Body
If you’re one of the millions of people who bemoan the stubborn bulge in your midsection, you may experience the delight of a loss or repositioning of that unwelcome fatty tissue, just from walking systematically. While you may not lose pounds, you are likely to experience a toning and firming as your body’s metabolism responds enthusiastically to your added activity. Calories will be burned and muscle deterioration slowed, all without visits to the gym or purchases of expensive workout equipment to clutter your home and make you feel guilty.
Fighting Off Hypertension and Diabetes
Two of the biggest killers that plague us today can be reined in by walking. Research has shown that as walking decreases your blood sugar level, it naturally reduces the risk you face for diabetes. Added to that is the good news that your chances of suffering a stroke take a dive as your blood pressure drops with this regular exercise.
The numbers are almost startling and as your chart at the doctor’s office begins to show the results of your efforts, your list prescribed medications may become less extensive and your doctor’s smile of approval more frequent.
Loving those Legs
For those of you more motivated by your looks than by your wellbeing, walking has visible rewards beyond a flatter belly and more toned legs. If you’ve ever looked at someone in shorts and noticed those ugly varicose veins, you’ve undoubtedly crossed your fingers that you could avoid developing the unattractive blue lines.
Walking checks in once again as a great defense. Because your circulatory system is designed to include parts of your feet set up to return blood to the heart, walking adds vigor to this blood flow. Your leg muscles are the beneficiaries of walking. While it calms the restless feeling we sometimes have in our legs and reduces swelling in our lower extremities, walking also provides a natural way of holding off the development of varicose veins.
Moving Things Along
Ridding your body of the sluggishness of “irregularity” is another bodily function you can target by walking. Moving those legs in your daily walk helps to get your gastrointestinal system activated. This direct result is part of the reason that patients who have had abdominal surgical interventions are quickly prodded and poked out of their beds to walk the hospital halls. As with all the other parts of our body, the abdominal area benefits from walking.
Attitude Is Everything
It’s important to start a walking routine with the right mindset and expectations. Plan your walk, schedule a time that will work daily for you. Walking when you have an extra 30 minutes doesn’t get you where you want to be. Initiate your walking program with a plan and make it part of your day. That makes it less tempting to just tell yourself you didn’t have time. A result that you didn’t set out to accomplish may be that finding yourself to have the discipline and structure to undertake an exercise regimen, you may also see new strength in your ability to stick to and complete other tasks and goals.
Your self-improvement efforts will surprise you in unexpected improvements in all parts of your life. The walking will strengthen your mind as well as your body and you will find yourself looking forward to that half hour you have carved out and committed to as something special you’re doing just for you.
A New You
Deciding to walk could be just the first time in ages that you’ve actually made a conscious decision to do something just for you. The minutes you devote to your daily walk can be the stimulus for a whole new way of looking at your quality of life, of sometimes putting yourself first. This small but important step toward a new and better you may open the path to a thoughtful review of your life’s goals, your relationship with your family, your satisfaction with yourself. Your healthier body can end up housing a new and better you!
Armed with a budget and a desire to get fit and stay that way, we are glad to welcome you to Walkingshoescenter.net. Life’s greatest journeys begin with a single step (Mark M. Roberts)
Disclaimer: All images are provided by the author.